Though Denmark and Sweden have had a similar historical development over years, the differences in their labour market situations have become more visible than ever. While labor shortage is increasing in Copenhagen area, there is a high number of unemployed individuals with a larger proportion of vulnerable groups among them in Sweden. Despite some appealing factors (such as less governed labor law, the simplicity of employing and the high wages), the interest of Swedes to work in Copenhagen area has decreased and as a result, the number of commuters has fallen. We believe that there might be another reason that prevents vulnerable groups, specifically foreign-born individuals, from searching jobs within the Öresund region as a whole, rather than in the residence country. Moreover, we believe that this reason is seldomly economical, but is rather socially constructed. Addressing and supporting the establishment of foreign-born/second generation migrant population makes the foreign-born/second generation migrants to be a target-group of the project.
The main objective of the project is thus to increase the border commuting by getting 50 foreign-born/second generation Swedes to get employed in Denmark. Through close cooperation between MINE, Lund university, Copenhagen university, Living Institute, Øresundsinstituttet and Foreningen Norden i Danmark ,we have the opportunity to develop a productive, result-oriented cooperation, to increase the common prosperity and the boundaries in the Öresund region. We want to investigate employers' attitudes towards hiring foreigners with the help of partnership. At present, there is no research on employers' attitudes regarding employment of people with foreign backgrounds and how they differ between Sweden and Denmark. The project, therefore, aims to understand the mental barriers that exist through interviewing 100 companies regarding employers' attitudes towards foreign born individuals and how they differ between countries. The analysis of interviews will illustrate a comprehensive picture of how the labor market looks for foreigners and what actions companies can take to take advantage of the skills that are otherwise lost. In parallel, we want to chart how they work to recruit, dismiss and keep the competence in practice. We have a hypothesis that the explanation is based on differences in how employers look at the skills of foreigners. Based on the result, we will design a method manual that will be the basis for a more equitable and inclusive recruitment pattern.
At the same time, it is important to understand what other factors besides employers' attitudes exist that contribute to the lack of attraction when it comes to commuting across the border. By interviewing 100 jobseeking foreign-born individuals in the region, we intend to understand how they perceive the situation in the labor market and what measures are needed to make the Öresund region's common labor market more attractive. Their experiences will be also included into the manual.
As a long-term goal, we want the manual to be used independently by both Swedish and Danish companies, which through implemented methods can make their recruitment non-discriminatory and transparent. We will also offer companies a number of training initiatives, designed to create the results analysis, which opens up for both knowledge sharing and networking between companies / organizations. We expect the project to result in increased knowledge, enhanced cooperation and better conditions for regional development. We also see that it contributes to increased success in labor market establishment and higher employment rates for foreign-born people. This, in turn, will have a favorable effect on economic growth in the Öresund region and increase the long-term cross-border commuting.